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Chasing (the long) Tail: Competing Quietly at PubCon

IncrediBill tried to blackmail me today with a picture from Pubcon, and then it showed up on the debut of SearchEngineLand. Mid-way down the page, that’s me in the unflattering pose, chatting stage-side with the very personable Vanessa Fox.

vanessa Fox at Pubcon 2006

Note that I am chatting with The Vanessa Fox, Google search engineer and product manager for Google Webmaster Central. Vanessa is a very knowledgable person, and very attentive to good SEO questions. She is also NOT on the spam team, and will refer you to Matt on issues of penalties and rule breaking. She focuses on doing things well. You might even say optimally. And even though this was post-session, and as you can see from the picture above it with Matt Cutts on the other end of the stage at the very same time, a very busy time to be swarming the stage. I had Vanessa almost all to myself.

According to the reporter at SearchEngineLand:

Sitting over there on the left is Googler Vanessa Fox. She’s at the opposite end of the same stage where Matt is being swarmed. If the stage were a ship, all the passengers that ran over to talk with Matt would have been tilting it to dangerously low on their side, while Vanessa’s side would be high in the air. That’s a lost opportunity. Vanessa, product manager of Google Webmaster Central, knows tons that will help site owners and SEOs. So do many other Googlers who make it out to conferences. That’s the reason for this post, to introduce people to Googlers they should seek out in addition to or as an alterative to Matt.

Lost opportunity? Obviously not…. for me. Thank you Bill for pointing out the incrediBilly obvious – John Andrews is a competitve webmaster and SEO. Vanessa is a very nice person and a valuable Google resource. Pubcon is full of opportunity, if you know how to navigate it.

Note to the easily offended: The headline “chasing (the long) tail” is an allusion to the Long Tail of Search, and a twist on incrediBill’s severely tacky attempt to extort cash from me vis-a-vis his email “how much cash it it worth to keep this pic of you and your lady friend a secret“. The Long Tail of Search refers to the large quantity of low-volume search queries that few compete for, because they are so busy going after the most popular terms. The Long Tail has proven to be a very profitable opportunity for those who chase after it.

Note to the not so easily offended: Hey Bill, all in fun, eh? I knew it was a joke. Really. Here’s a helpful link for you.


  1. John, you sly dog you ;)

    Friday, December 1, 2006 at 6:08 pm | Permalink
  2. SEO Buzz Box wrote:

    I think Vanessa is great, I was having some issues with sitemaps and was suprised when she emailed me back and followed up with a helpful answer. I am with you John and would be all over Vanessa, well you know, in a good way. One smart woman indeed.

    We can get better access to Matt by bugging the hell out of him on his blog. If I go to one of these events in the future I want to follow around The SEO Loser, now that would be extremely amusing. Maybe we could also hand him a microphone and have him ask SEO Rockstars really annoying questions? ;o)

    Friday, December 1, 2006 at 7:22 pm | Permalink
  3. IncrediBILL wrote:

    Very funny John, har dee har har…

    I wasn’t sure which was worse, your unflattering pose or poor Vanessa being trapped in the same image. On the bright side, you’re on Danny’s new website debut and I got some link love just sending you a joke about it.

    Friday, December 1, 2006 at 7:40 pm | Permalink
  4. David Temple wrote:

    Sorry John, I don’t buy it for a second. It looks more like a schmooze fest than a competitive webmastering and seo question and answer session. Not that there’s anything wrong with that ;)

    Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 1:43 am | Permalink
  5. Vanessa Fox wrote:

    It was great to talk to you on the quiet side of the stage. :)

    Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 8:49 am | Permalink
  6. Steve Gerard wrote:

    The one thing you forgot to mention in your post about the (appropriately named) Vanessa Fox is…

    She’s pretty damn cute! :)

    A statement that’s not only true, but will also result in my websites getting PR10s across the board by tomorrow. LOL

    Btw, if anyone’s interested in seeing a video of Vanessa wrestling a lady from Yahoo (really!), check out this video I just discovered… but put on your IR goggles because it’s extremely dark.


    Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 11:09 am | Permalink